Free rides on government buses and 6×6 trucks will be available to the public today, Monday, according to the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) in response to a strike by public utility vehicles (PUVs).
Meanwhile, rides on private buses can be availed by passengers of on a minimal fare.
The STOP & GO Transport Coalition earlier announced a “Tigil-Pasada” on February 6 in protest against a proposed phaseout of jeepneys and other public utility vehicles of PUVs, among other isues.
The No to Jeepney Phase Out Coalition and PISTON transport groups have expressed their support to the mass action but clarified that they will not be able to join because they will be holding an organizational meeting.
The two transport groups also made an invitation to STOP & GO head Jun Magno to organize a wider protest and possible Tigil-Pasada on another date, according to George San Mateo, president of PISTON.
San Mateo said Magno accepted his invitation.
The LTFRB said 4,800 military and police officers and non-uniformed officers and employees of the LTFRB, Department of Transportation, Philippine Coast Guard, Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Department of Public Works and Highways and Office for Transportation Security will be deployed to ensure public safety.
It reminded PUV operators that the no-strike policy is still in effect in accordance with Memorandum Circular 2011-004.
“The PUV operator shall not resort to cessation of service as a sign or demonstration of protest vs any government decision or action under pain of suspension or cancellation of the authority to operate granted by the board nor shall the PUV operator tolerate, allow or authorize personnel to join others committing acts prejudicial to the riding public, including but not limited to, paralyzing transport services by intimidation, coercion or violence,” as stated in the memorandum circular.
Applicable penalties shall be imposed by the board for failure of PUV operators to comply, the LTFRB warned.
The Quezon City Police District (QCPD) is bracing itself for today’s suspension of PUV operations, meeting with MMDA, Land Transportation Office-National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Traffic Management Group-NCR, Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety, PISTON STOP & GO and other concerned offices and groups.
The preparation also includes deployment of sufficient numbers of policemen to different areas where operators and drivers will stage their protests to ensure peace and order.
“They will be deployed as early as 5 a.m. on Monday to at least 16 convergent points in Quezon City to monitor the situation, especially stranded passengers. These areas include Muñoz, Balintawak, Commonwealth-Litex, Commonwealth-IBP Road, Philcoa, Quezon Avenue-Centris, Welcome Rotunda, Tandang Sora-Commonwealth, Quirino Highway-Zabarte Road, Santolan-Crame, Aurora Boulevard-Annapolis and Timog-Tomas Morato,” Chief Supt. Guillermo Eleazar, QCPD director, said over the weekend.
WITH JING VILLAMENTE